DOTC wants JICA to conduct study on NAIA replacement

By Lorenz S. Marasigan, BusinessMirror

Posted at May 26 2014 07:58 AM | Updated as of May 26 2014 05:51 PM

MANILA - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will request the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to conduct a full-blown feasibility study for the new international gateway that is seen to replace the aging Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

But while the agency plans to formally ask Jica to conduct the actual study, the DOTC will still consider San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) $10-billion airport proposal.

“Jica did a pre-feasibility study, we wanted to give them the go signal to do the main study. But the feedback that I got is that they are awaiting Neda [National Economic and Development Authority] approval of that dream plan before they start working on it,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya said in a chance interview.

Jica’s initial findings showed that Sangley Point in Cavite is a possible location for the proposed new airport.

“We will push for its approval so they can start with the feasibility study on Sangley airport,” he said.

But the government remains open to other prospects, including the plan of SMC.

He said the DOTC is also considering the proposal of SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang, who earlier met with President Aquino to discuss his $10-billion air hub that is seen to rise along the cities of Las Piñas and Parañaque.

“What we will do is to get a detailed presentation from SMC or whatever entity. Once it’s completed we need to decide which location is better for the new airport. SMC said they have a feasibility study which they could share,” Abaya explained.

He said Ang has presented the proposal to the agency, which still requires the businessman to formally and thoroughly discuss the proposed air hub.

The proposed 1,600-hectare international gateway will have complete features, including the establishment of a general-aviation office, maintenance facilities, a low-cost carrier terminal, a train system and a dedicated tollway. It will have twice the capacity of Naia.

“The next step is a decision on which location is better,” he said.

Currently, two of the four terminals of the main gateway in the country’s capital are undergoing rehabilitation.

Naia Terminal 1 is currently undergoing rehabilitation works that include structural retrofitting, improvement of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire-protection facilities and architectural works. The rehabilitation of the 30-year-old terminal is expected to be finished by January next year, in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015.

System works for the newer Naia Terminal 3, meanwhile, are currently being completed by its Japanese contractor. Requirements for the completion include baggage handling, flight-information displays, computer terminals, gate coordination, landing bridges and fire-protection systems. The requirements should be completed by July 2015.